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What is Orientation?

Orientation marks the beginning of the semester for new students. It's designed to help you settle into university and provide you with information to fully prepare you for the start of your classes. During Orientation O'Team leaders and University staff will guide you through registration process and familiarize you with different services available to you at Georgia Southwestern. 

What is the Mission Statement?

Georgia Southwestern State University is committed to providing programs that will ease the transition of our new students and their family members to our community. In addition, it will guide students towards developing the skills they will need to be successful during their first months of attending GSW.  Whether its a Registration Day, STORM Day or Orientation, GSW makes new students and their family members feel welcome and appreciated, while promoting their excitement of attending this University.

We believe that by participating in our STORM Days and New Student Orientation, students will be better prepared to begin their academic careers at Georgia Southwestern. During our events, students will have an opportunity to meet and interact with faculty, staff, O'Team Leaders and other incoming students. Our programs are designed to address a variety of academic and social needs through advisement, registration and STORM Day Programs.

What is the cost of Orientation?

Orientation fees for freshmen students are $85, this is paid for during your first semester at GSW and is included with your fees.  Please do not send any money for Orientation fees. 

What does my Orientation fee pay for?

The Orientation fee covers the cost of lunch, receptions, mailings, printing, insurance, T-Shirts, meeting room rentals, student staff salaries, advising costs, and administrative costs.

Why do I have to pay for Orientation?

We do not receive state or institutional funds for the program. We make every effort to keep costs at a minimum while still providing the best experience possible for incoming students and parents.

 How long is Orientation?

Summer Orientation (STORM Days) for freshmen is a one-day program beginning at 8:00a.m. and ending at approximately 5:00p.m. The session is full of programs and meetings designed to provide you with information needed to register for classes, prepare to live on campus, and transition you to college life.

Transfer Orientation is a one-day program beginning at 10:00a.m. ending approximately 1:00p.m. The session includes programs and meetings with information concerning credit evaluations, registration for classes and your transition to GSW.

What is the Compass Test and do I have to take it?

COMPASS is an untimed, computerized test that helps your college evaluate your skills and place you into appropriate courses. COMPASS offers tests in reading, writing, math, writing essay, and English as a Second Language (ESL). You will receive your COMPASS test results immediately upon completion of testing, and your score report will include placement messages informing you what courses you should take and how to register. The Office of Admissions will let you know if you are required to take the COMPASS test.

How Are COMPASS Scores Used?

COMPASS is not used like a traditional test. There is generally no "passing score." Rather, COMPASS scores indicate areas in which you are strong and areas in which you may need help. Thus, COMPASS can identify problems in major subject areas before they disrupt your educational progress, giving you the opportunity to prepare more effectively for needed courses. You and your institution can use scores from COMPASS tests to prepare a course of study that will be appropriate, relevant, and meaningful for you.

What exactly are Learning Communities and how do they effect me?

Space in fall courses has been reserved for beginning GSW freshmen in groups of classes called “Learning Communities”.  Learning Communities are specifically designed to assist freshmen with building social connections to enhance academic success during their first term in college.  Each community has been developed around one of the majors offered at GSW (including “undecided”) and includes a full course load of classes appropriate for the major (12-16 credit hours or approximately 5-6 classes).  Each Learning Community also includes a section of UNIV 1000, The GSW Experience, which is our freshmen orientation class. 

Learning Communities will be discussed in more detail at S.T.O.R.M. Day and you will have an opportunity to talk to your advisor about the various Learning Community options during group advising and individual advising/registration sessions.

 Is food included during Orientation?

Freshmen Orientation: Includes continental breakfast, lunch and snacks throughout the day.

Transfer Orientation: Includes lunch or dinner, depending on which session you choose to attend.

Family Orientation: Includes breakfast, lunch and snacks throughout the day. Each family member will need to pay $25 per family member.  There is no discount for children under the age of 5.  Please provide this payment with registration or at check-in.  Acceptable payments are cash, check & credit card. There is an ATM Machine located in the Marshall Student Center in the middle of campus for your convenience.

Should I bring a family member (parent or guardian)?

While parents do not have to attend Summer Orientation, we encourage parents/guardians to participate in the orientation process. We do offer specific programs and activities for parents where they will have an opportunity to meet other parents, join a parent network group, and learn about the different opportunities and areas of assistance on campus for your student.

I have a younger sibling. Can I bring them to Orientation?

The programs we offer are designed specifically for parents and entering students. Younger children may tire easily and get bored with the process. We highly advise against bringing younger children. However, if a child i will be attending the program with a parent/guardian, a $25 registration fee will be accepted at the beginning of the program. 

Is there a specific Orientation session I should attend?

Any STORM Day is a great addition to your GSW experience, it is important to register early for registration and sign up when it is convenient for you. Spots are limited to 150 students per session.  Sign up early and get the classes you want.

Where do parents and guests stay?

Parent and guest accommodations are available for your convenience. For Orientation Hotel Specials please refer to the Lodging and Visitor Information listed above.

What if I need to make a change to my Orientation Registration?

Please call the Office of Admissions at (229) 928-1273 for any changes to your Orientation registration.

If I register for Orientation and decide not to come to GSW, can I receive a refund?

Orientation fees are refundable; if there are any questions, please call the Office of Admission's at (229) 928-1273.

If a family member registers for Orientation and decides not to come, can I receive a refund?

Yes, a family member can receive a refund if they have paid in advance and then decide not to attend the Orientation program.

 How long should I wait before registering for Orientation?

Orientation sessions are filled on a first-come-first-served basis. To get the session that fits within your summer schedule, please register as soon as possible.

I called earlier this morning to try to get into a closed session, but they said it was full. Is there any way that I can be put on the waiting list for that session?

Unfortunately, we do not maintain waiting lists for any of our sessions. You will need to choose a different orientation session.

 I want to attend the same Orientation session as my friend, how can we do this?

You and a friend can attend the same Orientation session if you register and complete payments at the same time, requesting the same Orientation session. We will do all that we can to accommodate this request, however, because reservations are made on a first-come-first-served basis, we cannot guarantee your request.

What do I need to bring to Orientation?

Please bring an open mind, patience and excitement! Bring comfortable shoes and clothes (perhaps a light jacket as it tends to get cold during some sessions) as you will be walking a lot. It is also recommended to bring an umbrella and raincoat.  Orientation is a fun, but sometimes an overwhelming experience. The Orientation Team and staff are here to assist you during your stay!

Will I have to walk a lot during Orientation?

While the campus of GSW is a close-knit community, it can be quite a walk around during our tours.  We will be providing a club cart for people with disabilities throughout the day.  Most people find walking around GSW to be quite normal and do not have difficulties doing so during STORM Days. When it comes to a long day, we recommend cool, comfortable clothes and shoes.

If I or a family member have a special need or disability, will assistance be provided?

Yes! On your Orientation registration please note any assistance that may be required. We will provide special transportation for persons requiring assistance getting around campus.  If you also have a food allergy or special food accommodation, please be sure to include that on your registration form for STORM Day.

Are all the sessions and programs required during Orientation?

The majority of the programs are required for attendance at Orientation. The information may sometimes be repeated, but this is only to reiterate the importance of the information as we have tried to develop a program that will aid in this transition period. STORM days typically last to about 5pm, please try to make travel arrangements according to the estimated time of departure.

 I had a family member attend Georgia Southwestern previously, do I need to come to Orientation?

Yes! Orientation is unique to each student who attends. GSW is continually improving its programs and services, thus it is important to attend Orientation to learn about GSW's current academic requirements, services and policies. Orientation is also an opportunity to meet other students experiencing the same transition. Many life-long friendships have been established from attending Orientation.

Do I meet with an academic advisor during Orientation?

Yes! During Orientation you will meet with an academic advisor, and hear more information about your major. This advisor may not be your final advisor, but will be able to provide you with the same information as your advisor would.

Will I be able to register for classes during Orientation?

Yes, there will be time for you to meet with your academic department and register for fall or spring classes.

When do I get my Student ID card?

You will take your picture for your GSW ID card during STORM Days and will pick them up as well. You should leave with a card in hand!

When do I find out about my roommate?

Roommate housing assignments are mailed at the end of July. Due to the number of students living on-campus we are unable to assign roommates prior to Orientation.

If I meet someone at Orientation who I want to room with during the year, can I do this?

Yes! If you attend a STORM Day and meet someone you would like to room with during the school year, you and your selected roommate should visit the Office of Residence Life before you leave campus to receive further assistance. If you have any questions about Housing or your assignment, please email for more information about Housing.

I heard there is a packet of information that has lots of great information about my son or daughter's transition to GSW.  Where can I find it?

You can find it by downloading it from this link.  New Student Guide

I missed some of the information the Dean of Academic Services, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs presented.  How can I hear this information again? 

You can find it by downloading it from here: 

Where can I find the Information that was on the jump drive they passed out during orientation?

GSW Website Search


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